International Interfaith Peace Conference in Islamabad

President of Pakistan and all representatives themselves for the noble cause of peace and harmony in the world
At the initiative of the Grand Imam of the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad, International Interfaith Peace Conference was organized at the local hotel in Islamabad on 25th of January, 2023. His Excellency, Dr. Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan was th Chief Guest, Dr. Andrea Riccardi was Guest of Honor, whereas there were over 300 guests, including Ambassadors of different countries, human rights activists and promoters of interfaith harmony and representatives of all major religions, Civil and religious authorities. His Grace, Archbishop Christophe Z. El-Kassis, Apostolic Nuncio and Archbishop Joseph Arshad also graced this conference with their presence.

Addressing the International Inter-Faith Peace Conference, President Dr. Arif Alvi called upon everyone to practice one’s own religion without interfering in other’s religions, ensuring political, social, cultural, legal and religious freedoms for the followers of all religions, respecting and protecting their places of worship and allowing followers of all religions to pray in their worship places.

President Alvi said that all the religions of the world preach peace, security and harmony in society but unfortunately, followers of different religions forget and neglect these teachings and resort to war on the basis of vested interests, nationalism, racism, land, resources or politics.
The President of Pakistan said that it was the duty of the Islamic society to protect the religious pla ces of other religions, provide security and respect to their religious leaders and give equal rights to them under the law. He added that Muslim societies are responsible to protect the honor, dignity, life and properties of followers of all other religions.
The President condemned the abhorrent act of burning and desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden and urged upon international community to take notice of this heinous and abhorrent act and take all necessary measures to provide justice and put in place a mechanism to prevent rehappening of such shocking acts in future.  He added that hate speech, speech inciting violence, promoting racism and bigotry should be curbed and discouraged at all forums.

Prof Dr Andrea Riccardi, Founder of Sant’Egideo while addressing the conference highly appreciated Pakistan’s hosting of the Afghan refugees. He said that dialogues among communities were essential for promoting peace and harmony, adding that different religions needed to coexist peacefully. He said that minorities had a right to their identity as it strengthened the foundations of a nation. He said that dialogue should be promoted at all levels of society and different religions should compete on promoting good and the welfare of humanity. He said that war was the mother of poverty, and religions could help reduce wars, conflicts, and hatred in the world.

Fr James Channan OP, Director of Peace Center, Lahore emphasized the grave need of dialogue among religions, cultures and civilizations. Interfaith dialogue is the key to world peace and without it there is no future of the world. He expressed his gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayyeb for signing world famous document ‘“Human Fraternity” which needs to studied and acted upon by religious leaders and scholars. This document is signed in the light of the present issues the world is faced with and the followers of religions can bring lasting peace and justice in the world.  He also praised Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad and Community of Sant’Egideo for organizing this international conference. He also urged the government of Pakistan to include chapter on interfaith dialogue and peace in the school curriculum so that student open their vision and have positive attitude towards believers of all religion. Fr James Channan lamented the desecration and burning of the Quran in Sweden and demanded the government of Sweden to bring the culprit to justice as he has caused pain and anger among the Muslims around the globe. He expressed his solidarity with Muslims.

Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad on the occasion called for establishing international laws preventing hate speech. He said that the world had become a global village and people with different views needed to learn to live together peacefully. He said that Pakistan had been a flag-bearer of love, tolerance, hospitality, and had fought against terrorism and religious extremism. He said that Pakistani religious scholars had issued a unanimous religious decree against suicide attacks, terrorism and extremism.
Reported by:
Fr James Channan OP
Peace Center, Lahore Email:

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Peace Center is very important institution which is playing a significant role in spite of all the difficulties we are confronted with. A couple of Dominican Friars are active in Christian- Muslim dialogue and they are well known both nationally and internationally for promoting Christian-Muslim dialogue. It is top priority of the Dominican Order in the world and in Pakistan as well.
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